Following the theory of police integrity, the purpose of this paper is to explore empirically the contours of police integrity in South Africa using survey of the three South African police agency types.
During the period from 2010 to 2012, a police integrity survey was used to measure the contours of police integrity among 871 police officers across South Africa, covering all three police agency types. The questionnaire contains descriptions of 11 scenarios, covering different forms of police misconduct, followed by seven questions measuring officer views of scenario seriousness, the appropriate and expected discipline, and willingness to report the misconduct.
The results show that the respondents from the three police agency types were about equally likely to recognize behaviors as rule-violating and, in most scenarios, evaluated these scenarios to be of the same level of seriousness. The contours of the code of silence were very similar as well. The authors found the largest and most systematic differences in the respondents’ perceptions of disciplinary environment, with the traffic respondents expecting harsher disciplinary environments than either the South African Police Service or metro police respondents.
Similar sample group sizes would have been preferred, although the current sample group proportions are certainly representative of a collective, agency size comparison.
Although the respondents from the three police agency types expressed similar views of misconduct seriousness and their willingness to report, and were as likely to recognize these behaviors as rule-violating, their views depicted markedly different disciplinary environments. These results clearly support the critical importance of consistent enforcement of official rules.
Whereas several integrity studies have explored the country’s national police service, empirical studies on the integrity of the other South African police agency types are non-existent.
Ivković, S. and Sauerman, A. (2016), "Police integrity in South Africa: a tale of three police agency types", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 268-283. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-10-2015-0115Download as .RIS
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